The sparky at the undisclosed mine reset the auxiliary fan power supply and then restarted the fan, a move which could have resulted in uncontrolled ventilation.
The Queensland Mines Inspectorate said the contractor breached fundamental rules which every underground coal miner must know.
In its safety alert, the inspectorate subsequently cited the relevant section of the state’s coal mining safety legislation:
(1) A person must not deal with a fan ventilating a place below ground at an underground mine unless the person—
(a) is the ERZ controller for the place; or
(b) is authorised by the ventilation officer to deal with the fan; or
(c) has been directed to deal with the fan by the Explosion Risk Zone controller [deputy] for the place or a person authorised to deal with the fan under paragraph (b).
(2) Before a person starts or stops a fan ventilating a place below ground at an underground mine, the person must ensure the following persons are given notification of the proposed starting or stopping—
(a) the ERZ controller for the place;
(b) each person likely to be affected by the proposed starting or stopping.
- (3) In this section — deal, with a fan, means start, stop, remove or alter the fan.
The inspectorate further questioned the level and standards of the induction training the sparky had received.
All underground coal mines in the state were consequently recommended to ensure their workers, especially visiting contractors, understand the legal requirements with auxiliary fans.
The inspectorate also recommended that mines ensured relevant induction documentation and training was adequate.